It's 2011 and while the coldest weather of the winter is more than likely ahead of us, the days have already started getting longer, which means grilling and barbecue are right around the corner.
Given the time of the year and the tradition of making resolutions, I thought I would devote today's column to New Year's resolutions for 2011.
Resolution #1. Make a commitment to get those you love (children, grandchildren, family and friends) involved in the outdoor cooking process. If you have kids or grandkids, think of it as passing on a family tradition that they can use for years to come.
Resolution #2. Broaden your horizon by trying new recipes and new grilling or barbecue techniques.
It is easy to get in a rut, cooking the same thing over and over. It has happened to me many times. Get out of your comfort zone. If you always use gas, try firing up the charcoal grill on the weekends. Try slow cooking using indirect heat. Mix it up. It's interesting, fun and deepens your outdoor cooking skills.
Resolution #3. Commit to acquiring a good collection of outdoor grilling and barbecue books. When you swing by a book store, stop by and check out the cooking section. You will find lots of great books detailing decades-old recipes and technique tips from some of the best outdoor chefs in the country.
This resolution will help you achieve resolution #2.
Resolution #4. If you have never attempted the “classic” of all BBQ, please, please please commit yourself to preparing pulled pork sandwiches. Once you master this technique of
preparing barbecue, you will be seen as an expert in your neighborhood.
Resolution #5. Take a serious inventory of your grilling and barbecue equipment. Is it time to
upgrade? Do you have a good set of barbecue and grilling utensils? Maybe Santa forgot that you are a grilling and barbecue enthusiast. Do your part to reignite the 2011 economy by purchasing a new grill, smoker, utensils, etc.
Resolution #6. If you are a regular reader of this column, this resolution will sound familiar as it is my mantra. Please promise you will not stab, mush down or cut meats while they are cooking outdoors, or ever for that matter. There is no advantage to losing all those moist, delicious juices unless
your goal is to serve a hot leather shoe.
Resolution #7. Get to know a great butcher in your area. They specialize in local beef that is steroid and hormone free. You would be
surprised how much better it tastes.
Resolution #8. Learn to grill vegetables. Once of the most satisfying side dishes we fix is grilled corn on the cob. There are many vegetables which lend themselves perfectly to outdoor cooking, but please
learn to grill corn.
Resolution #9. For the major holidays of 2011, cook the entree outdoors. Here are some ideas: Easter – leg of lamb. July 4th – Pulled pork sandwiches. Halloween – Beer can chicken. Thanksgiving – Turkey. Christmas – Bone-in rib eye or crown roast of pork.
Resolution #10. Don't be afraid to try your hand at grilling fish. If you learn simple techniques, you will be a master in no time. It's healthy, and it also helps you accomplish resolution #2.
To review techniques on grilling or preparing a specific meal visit http://www.bbq-my-way.com.
Bonus Resolution. Support the American culinary art of barbecue by joining a legitimate barbecue
society this year. I am partial to The Kansas City Barbecue Society. It's $35 a year and it includes an ID card and a subscription to their monthly publication, “The Bull Sheet.” That's less than a dime a day. Their website is http://www.kcbs.us/.
Dave Lobeck is a barbecue chef from Sellersburg, Ind., who writes a weekly column for CNHI News Service. Visit his website at www.BBQMyWay.com.